The hikers were trapped on one side of a creek in the Bent Mountain part of Roanoke County. The hikers had set out for a hike on the Bottom Creek Gorge Trail.
Three other hikers were in the group, and called 9-1-1 when the three missing hikers didn't return to their meeting spot around 5 p.m..
Because of the rocky, steep terrain, the three men weren't able to be rescued until 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The men were not injured, but were dehydrated and cold.
About 34 rescue team members helped with the operation.
Here is the news release from Roanoke County Fire and Rescue:
At about 8 p.m. last night, Roanoke County Fire & Rescue was called to Poor Mountain (in the Bent Mountain area of the County) to find three missing hikers.
Six hikers set out earlier in the day to hike to the Bottom Creek Gorge Trail. At about 5 p.m., three hikers (adult female and two males) returned to their meeting place and waited for the other three adult males to return. After more than three hours had passed and the three men had not returned, they called 9-1-1.
Because of very limited cell phone coverage and radio communication accessibility, it took rescue personnel about four hours to locate exactly where the three men were. Rescue crews then learned, the three had traveled along the Bottom Creek Gorge trail, then crossed the creek.
Heavy rains then fell in the area causing the creek to rise significantly and become too difficult to cross back over. It would take several more hours for technical rescue crews to devise a plan as to how to safely extricate the men from one side of the creek to the other. That plan would have required significant equipment and additional personnel.
The area was researched and it was determined that there were homeowners who lived on the North side of the creek and their property could be accessed for a safer and quicker extrication. Fire officials then knocked on doors of homes in the target area early this morning to request access. They were directed to a particular property off of Patterson Drive. Although this was an easier and safer access, it still required a three-quarter mile hike with the use of rope systems to pull the victims and crew members up the steep and rocky terrain. The three men were brought to safety at about 8:30 this morning.
There were approximately 34 rescue personnel on scene, including a team from Roanoke Fire-EMS and a team from Salem Fire-EMS.
The three men were very appreciative of our efforts to rescue them. They were not injured but were dehydrated and cold. Two of the men were from out of town and one was from the Bent Mountain area.